Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest Post on The High Cost of College Textbooks

Yesterday I got my wisdom teeth out so today you'll find a guest post! Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon and be able to post normally by Monday! Enjoy!

College students aren’t the richest people you can find, but those who are responsible for the prices of college textbooks don’t seem to think so. College students only just manage to get money to quench their hunger with fast foods but their textbook prices almost always exceed the hundred-dollar mark. Why is this?

If you wanted to buy a novel to read in your free time, what you are likely to do is either go to a local bookstore or get on and explore the selection. There would be many books from many authors, written on many subjects within an affordable price range. If you run into a book carrying a multi-hundred dollar price tag, you obviously won’t buy it. It would be such an extraordinary thing that you would show the abomination to others in the store and wonder whether somebody wrote an extra zero on it! But this kind of situation is just typical to college students. Most, scratch that - all the college textbooks they have to buy every semester are priced well in the hundred-dollar range.

What causes this? It’s just simple economics; in the above example, if you ran into such a book, you wouldn’t buy it and just go on for another cheaper book. Everybody else would do the same and the publishers would go bankrupt. In other words, you have a choice. But this isn’t so in the case of college students. The student has to buy the college textbooks mentioned in their syllabus or they can’t enter the course. Period. So the textbook makers freely price-away whatever amount they feel like and release the college textbooks. In their perspective, "the same number of college students would buy a textbook no matter whether it’s priced at $20 or $200. So why drop prices and lose all that profit?"

There is yet another reason that further augments this problem. Aiming to get a commission out of the sales, some professors who were involved in the making of some college textbooks would add this book to the syllabus of the class he’s teaching to. And the publishers, knowing this, will set the prices of the college textbooks at very high levels; they know that those professors will make students buy their college textbooks and therefore there will be no lack of demand! The prices of college textbooks are at unbearable levels and we, as students can’t do anything about it other than look for alternatives like renting, buying second hand or using an e-textbook. These alternatives can really cut down on textbook prices though!

Guest post by Amit Sehgal blogging about college textbooks on! Thank you Amit!


  1. I buy all of my textbooks for my Kindle! I saved almost $100 this semester! And what's great is that you can plug in your Kindle and pull all of your notes off and print them and bring them to class! Saving money + not carrying heavy textbooks? I'm in!

  2. I used to spend about $500 a quarter on books! But, thank goodness, my school implemented a new program in which you can rent all your books for about a fourth of the cost. Im lovin it.

  3. Great ideas guys! Thanks for sharing. :) One thing that I love about being done with college is not worrying about books. Half the time I didn't even buy them because they were so expensive and the teacher didn't even use them much.


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